Japanese leader Shinzo Abe has called an early election to take advantage of higher opinion polls to secure a stronger mandate as the country prepares to respond to increasing threats from North Korea.
The prime minister said the snap election was called in an attempt "to deal with the biggest challenge facing Japan, which is the population aging and low birthrate". The election for the new lower house is likely to be held on October 22, according to media reports.
While speaking at a press conference on Monday, Abe said that he is aiming to get support from the people for his hard line against North Korea's nuclear programmes also.
Abe's image as a strong leader in response to these risks has overshadowed criticism from the opposition over scandals that had eroded his support.
Abe will officially announce his government plans for holding the snap vote. She used a similar good-governance message to crush Abe's party in a local Tokyo election in July.More news: Tom Brady avoids sack en route to Brett Favre-esque play
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Fukuda, a 53-year-old House of Representatives member in his third term, will resign from the LDP on Monday. "I plan to compile a new economic package by the end of the year", the prime minister said.
The ruling coalition now controls 68 percent of seats in the 475-member lower house, including 288 for the LDP and 35 for its coalition partner Komeito, according to the parliamentary website.
Opposition lawmakers have said there is no need to hold an election now.
While the Democratic Party is splintering, Abe faces a challenge from a new party set up by an associate of popular Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who has a history of local election victories over the premier's party. With regard to peace and stability in Africa, the Prime Minister reviewed the contributions of Japan, such as the deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Force engineering unit to South Sudan and its support for peacekeeping training centers in Africa. She said she will continue her gubernatorial duties alongside the party's activities.
Dr Sota Kato, executive director of the Tokyo Foundation think-tank, expects Mr Abe to retain his majority, though he said: "Most voters can see through his motives, no matter what Mr Abe says to try to legitimise the reasons for calling an election now".